Israeli soldiers fatally shot a Palestinian man Friday during protests and clashes near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, the Health Ministry in the coastal enclave said.

Karam Fayyad, 26, was killed east of the Gaza city of Khan Yunis, a ministry spokesman told AFP.

Eight other Palestinians were wounded by fire during clashes with Israeli troops along the border.

Around 5,000 Palestinians protested on Friday along various parts of the border between Gaza and Israel, a spokeswoman for the Israeli Defense Forces said.

Some protesters threw stones at the soldiers and also hurled explosive devices, which fell on the Gaza side of the border, the spokeswoman said.

Gaza Strip Palestinians have been staging violent protests backed by Hamas, the enclave’s Islamist rulers, since March 30.

Protesters are calling for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to their former homes now inside Israel.

At least 240 Palestinians have been killed since the demonstrations began, most of them by Israeli fire during border clashes but also by air and tank strikes.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period, one by a Palestinian sniper and another during an aborted special forces operation inside Gaza.

– with reporting by Agence France-Presse